Q&A About Sleep…We All Have Lots of Them About Sleep…So Ask Me!
When we think of sleep the following questions and answers usually spring to mind.
Most popular questions about sleep…
Why won’t my toddler sleep all night?
When should I stop the night feeds?
Why does night feeding lead to sleep disruption?
How can I get my toddler to stay in their own bed?
Do they sleep some nights & not others, why?
Find out the answer to this below
These are just a few of the very common and normal questions I can ask about sleep. We sometimes feel frightened to ask questions about our child’s sleep. It makes us feel like we have done something wrong in the first place and we feel judged by others when we say to our girlfriends at the toddler group “oh, Joe sleeps all night long. How did you do that? Hannah was up 6 times last night ..I’m totally exhausted. What I’d do to get a night’s sleep!!”
Good news – you are not alone
Well, the good news is your not alone. In fact, upon investigating further you’d actually find that Joe didn’t sleep all night independently. He woke twice & mum went into the room sshhooing him back to sleep before he woke the whole house. This happens because he stirs every night at 2 am. Mum is so used to being a night duty so is only in a light sleep at this time because of the habit that has been created.
So Joe doesn’t sleep independently. He is using a prop which is his mother’s voice and gentle touch which puts him back to sleep. Mum doesnt class this a being awake as he didn’t wake fully nor really cried out, just whimpered.
The good news
Well, the good news is all of these scenarios can be solved. The mum who is up 6 times, to the mum who rushes through at the slightest whimper so not to wake everyone else up. Prop dependence is the biggest reason babies and children don’t sleep. Especially when a prop is a person or a physical action. The dummy (or pacifier) is also another cause of this.
These awakening for a child would be similar to us going to bed with a pillow all nicely set & our covers up around us to wake 2 hours later with our pillows gone…How did that happen, where are they?? We would be startled and initially, a little scared…us as an adult wouldn’t cry as we logically work it out. Our children, however, don’t have this mental capacity to do that yet so we cry out for the person who brings us comfort and fixes things for us…our parents/carer.
Reasons for this
There is a reason for every situation. Which is what I am trying to demonstrate in this story. Some are very obvious & others are not so. I would like to open the floor to any questions you may have and ask you write them below the blog and I will answer them for you to help you understand your sleepless nights better as once you know what is causing the problem you are then able to truly fix it.
So to prove your not alone nor it is wrong to ask questions I have answered a few below for you to see.
Why won’t my toddler sleep all night?
Although your toddler needs about 10 to 13 hours of sleep each day. It is still common for him to wake up in the middle of the night. These night wakings can be frustrating, especially since many parents think that phase is over once their child learns to sleep through the night. In order to help your toddler sleep all night, it is important to understand what can cause night wakings.
Some causes can be environmental changes. The older your toddler gets the more aware he is of his surroundings making him wakes. He becomes more aware of the brightness of the room, or hear noises that he hadn’t before. Routine changes – this is a big factor that when there is a change to his bedtime routine. It only takes your toddler to wake up once for that to have become a habit. Therefore consistency is key.
Nightmares or night terrors can also be a factor this again is due to her being aware of her surrounding. Things she is seeing & hearing during the day which her mind replays during her sleep. Other causes can be the normal health & development growths which all can have wakening reduced by putting a solid good routine with consistent outcome in place which will help them to settle themselves back to sleep quicker & independently.
When do I stop night feeds?
There are a couple of our Q&A About Sleep to consider when answering this.
1. Is your child growing well? If the answer is yes then you are able to look at taking away night feeds from 3 months as this is when a baby can sleep through the night. The answer was no, your child may need those calories at night. If you are not sure how your child is growing, please talk to your paediatrician. If the
2. How old is your child? Definitely a baby over 6 months who is healthy & growing normally would be able to sleep through the night giving you 12-14 hrs solid sleep. It’s important to note that night weaning can lead to weaning altogether. (just to make you aware)
3. Do you want to continue night nursing? Some moms, especially those who work outside of the home, value the closeness and extra time that night nursing provides. If that is the case, you don’t need to stop, provided that you are getting enough rest. & the baby is self-soothing back to sleep and not falling asleep during the feed. Should it not, you may need to make a choice between getting better sleep and dealing with dwindling milk supply.
Why does feeding at night result in sleep disruption?
Imagine I woke you up every night at 2 AM and gave you a cup of tea & toast for one whole week. Then at the end of the week, I stop feeding this to you during the night. You would still wake up hungry & looking for the toast. Not because you really need it, but because it has actually become a habit & the norm. This is what happens to some children. It is unclear exactly why this is the case.
However, I suspect that some parents get in the habit of responding to any nocturnal awakenings with feeding. (which I don’t blame you for as dealing with a child who is crying when you are sleepy & exhausted, you will do anything to stop the crying) Just like you might feel sleepy after having that tea & toast they simply go back to sleep. Over time, the pattern gets reinforced. I call this pattern learned hunger.
How can I get my toddler to stay in their own bed?
Simply & easy put. Setting bedtime boundaries & all other sleep associations. When they get up out of bed, the only thing you can do is put them back in their own bed. Over & over again until they realise that there is actually no point of getting out of bed as they just simply be returned to their own bed.
Not getting enough sleep can lead to a host of other issues with toddlers such as tantrums, meltdowns, crankiness, and a disagreeable demeanour. Sleep is important to make life easier for the whole family. When it comes to establishing good sleep habits with your toddler, the earlier parents start, the better.
Some parents don’t realize that the habits they allow or even encourage can lead to sleep problems.
Once these problems have developed, it can be difficult to make changes, though it’s not impossible and is certainly worth the effort. It will be easier for the child and the parents if ground rules and routines around sleep are set now to avoid problems later.
What is sleep Associations?
An sleep association is anything that a toddler or child connects with going to sleep. This can anything such as a pacifier, blanket, or stuffed animal. Or, it can be an action such as rocking, nursing, or sleeping with your child. Children start establishing sleep associations very early in life. If a toddler is used to falling asleep with a bottle or being rocked to sleep, he will make that association every time it is bedtime.
Some sleep associations are healthy and critical to setting up a bedtime routine. This allows your child’s mind and body to be ready for sleep. Parents might give their toddler a warm bath, brush teeth, read a story together, turn the lights low, sing songs, or do anything that helps to indicate that bedtime is approaching.
Other sleep associations can create issues.
Such as a toddler has to have a bottle of milk to fall asleep, it may seem fine at first. But later it becomes unhealthy due to promoting cavities or being a source of extra calories that your toddler doesn’t really need. Or, sleeping in your child’s room may have seemed like your only option for getting your child to bed, but that probably means you’re not getting a good night’s sleep.
Parents should consider whether or not a sleep association is adversely affecting your child’s sleep, your own sleep, or that of another caregiver.
Why does my child sleep some nights and not others?
simply put inconsistency..there is no routine which is essential to the child knowing bedtime is approaching. When there is no routine how can we expect our children to know what is happening and what to do if we haven’t shown them by giving them the signals such as a warm bath, bedtime story etc? Consistency is key.
These are just a few examples of what type of questions I can be asked, I’d love to hear your, So please ask away.